In Memory of Hubert Zernickow and Chuck Mekbel
Hugh Z. 01.JPG

Also In Memory of Chuck Mekbel who passed away November 19, 2019 while birding in one of his favorite spots, Watkins Lake State Park, among his JAS Tuesday Group friends. 

Some of the thousands of fantastic bird photos he took and shared with Jackson Audubon over the years are posted on the website at

   Audubon and cranes lost a good friend August 6, 2019 when Hubert Peter Zernickow passed away at age 97. After many years of good health, he fell requiring a hip replacement and then suffered a series of setbacks before being transferred        to Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice Center, Jackson. Hugh served as president of Michigan Audubon from 1976 to 1978, and previously as vice president and chairman of the Finance Committee. During his tenure as president his calming demeanor helped M.A.S. overcome a controversial proposal to extract hydrocarbon at Baker Sanctuary.  He also served as president of Jackson Audubon Society, was a compiler of the Waterloo Christmas Bird Count and served from its formation on the Haehnle Committee. Hugh was a strong advocate of the Haehnle Sanctuary, volunteering at workbees, making weekly cranes counts during the fall and providing sound advice and financial support. Photography was among his other many interests, especially using Leica equipment. 

His wife, Norene, preceded him in death. He is survived by grandson John Hoye and wife Laura, and a great grandson, Chris. Honoring his wishes, there was no funeral or memorial service. Remembrances may be given to the Hugh and Norene Zernickow Memorial for the Haehnle Sanctuary. They can be sent with the notation Haehnle Sanctuary to either the Jackson Audubon Society, P.O. Box 6453, Jackson, MI 49204 or to Michigan Audubon, 2310 Science Parkway, Suite 200, Okemos, MI 48864.

Bill & Cheryl Wells hosted the Haehnle Committee picnic in 2019. Pictured are Lathe & Cathy Claflin, Gary & Jeanette Childs (who very sadly passed in 2020, see newsletter), Marsi Darwin, Helena Robinovitz, Tom & Sharon Hodgson and grandchildren, Pam & Jim Rossman, Bill Wells, Steve Jerant and Gary Siegrist.

We especially missed Ron & Joan Hoffman that day.  

 Work Bees 

Habitat Work Crew 

Days & times vary.

We'll have a variety of tasks so no experience necessary. Work gloves are helpful. For more information please email Gary Siegrist at

CCC & C Festival

Colors, Cabernet, Cranes, & Cider is normally held in October. Details TBA. 

Report Vandalism


Sad News - Click here

If you see anyone vandalizing any item at Haehnle Sanctuary please call 911 immediately and report them. If you find evidence of vandalism please call Lathe at 517 936-0528.

Jackson Audubon opposes the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt in Michigan. 

  • On October 11, 2017 the Michigan House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee voted 5 to 4 to pass House Resolution (HR) 154, which encourages the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to open a recreational sandhill crane hunting season.

  • On October 18, HR 154 was passed in the House.

  • Contact the Natural Resources Commission at 517-284-6237 to oppose HR 154.


Since its inception in 1904, the Michigan Audubon community has consistently supported and worked for the protection of native bird species. 

  • Sandhill cranes are a distinctive species and are models of fidelity and longevity.

  • They hold the record as the oldest living bird species.

  • As residents of the Jackson area, we have a special association with cranes.  Casper “Cap Haehnle, an avid hunter, deeded his property, now called the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary, for permanent protection for birds and other wildlife to Michigan Audubon. It has grown to over 1000 acres and has become a regional destination for tourists and birders, especially in the autumn. 

The economic benefits from crane viewing.

  • Michigan Audubon, including Haehnle, participated in a study on the value of cranes for tourism a few years ago. The number of crane watchers far outnumbers the potential number of crane hunters.

  • The visitor registry at Haehnle Sanctuary continually records visitors from across the US and other countries.

  • Undoubtedly, hunting related dollars have had a positive impact on all wildlife in Michigan.  But current trends suggest more and more that wildlife watchers are enjoying non-hunting forms of recreation and these citizens are willing to spend their dollars to do so.

  • We question the effect hunting cranes will have on the Sanctuary and tourism in Jackson & Calhoun counties.

Crane population and hunting

  • In 1931, there were only 17 pairs of sandhill cranes in the lower peninsula. While the bird’s population has recovered, and they are now abundant throughout the Mississippi flyway, we should celebrate this conservation success story rather than risk repeating past mistakes.

  • After years of increasing, the fall population index of cranes in Michigan has leveled off since 2009.  

  • Cranes have one of the lowest recruitment rates, meaning they reproduce at low numbers. 

  • While we recognize that sandhill cranes inflict localized crop damage, it is not widespread. Michigan has already established successful management tools for agricultural stakeholders experiencing issues with this bird.  

Michigan Audubon opposes the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt in the state of Michigan.

Michigan Audubon post regarding pending action in the Michigan legislature:

Updated 10/24/2017